TGJ Replay: Ashanti’s ‘Concrete Rose’

Published: Friday 23rd Aug 2013 by Rashad


Much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past.  So in a quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday we introduced a new retrospective segment – ‘TGJ Replay’.

Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase albums (and eras) from a library of pop music hits.  Today we fast backward to R&B chanteuse Ashanti‘s tertiary release ‘Concrete Rose’…

Charged with the task of following up two blockbuster #1 albums ‘Ashanti’ and ‘Chapter II’, 2003 saw Grammy winning songbird Ashanti Douglas return to the lab to remix her uber-successful formula for what was greatly expected to be a chart-topping chapter 3.  Indeed, the New York-born beauty had seen her first album greeted with the highest first week sales of a debut album for a female artist of color (a record she still holds) and her second album followed its stead soaring to the top of charts as well.  In such, the path carved by its predecessors would prove a difficult one for any follow-up album to tread.

The daunt of such did not deter the ‘Rain On Me’ maestra from tapping label-head Irv Gotti and futuristic hitmaker 7 Aurelius to spearhead her new project.  Christened ‘Concrete Rose’ – a nod to legendary rapper Tupac Shakur – the album would serve as Ashanti’s most artistic effort to date.  Lending mixes of less radio friendly R&B than her previous releases, ‘Rose’ dripped of darker toned rhythmic numbers decorated with electronica, pop, and even rock.

It’s first fruit ‘Only U’ was set to showcase the new Ashanti…

‘Only U’

Serving as visual evidence of Douglas’ maturity, the tune’s accompanying video served as her most glossy to date.  Filled with noticeably intensified choreography and fashion forwardness, the clip roared onto video countdowns to much fanfare at the “new” Ashanti.

Charts, on the other hand, were not exactly reflecting the same as, despite aggressive promotional appearances, the song stalled at #13 – a feat then unfamiliar to the surefire chart-topper.

‘Only U’ (live)

The album would follow to what were then disappoint sales as well.  Premiering at #7 on the charts with a respectable 254k sold in its first week, the album marked her lowest sales to that date.

Conversely, ‘Rose’ rolled in as a critical homerun.  Hailed by many as a long-awaited signal of growth and artistic depth, ‘Concrete Rose’ also evidenced a vocal evolution.  Disappointingly, all of the aforementioned were not enough to save the ‘Rose’ from its swift slide down charts.

The singer even came “out of pocket” to fund ‘Only U’s follow-up visual ‘Don’t Let Them’

‘Don’t Let Them’

Many attribute Ashanti’s deviation from her more heavily hip-hop influenced numbers as well as the radio and visual domination of acts like Beyonce, J. Lo and co.’s with ‘Rose’ not resonating with fans.  The latter’s musical uprising, ironically, was contributed to by the ‘Foolish’ singer herself.

Be that as it may, while the efforts that followed ‘Rose’ have not yielded its sales numbers, one cannot take from Ashanti her “little engine that could” mentality nor the leaps and bounds she’s made vocally since her height ten years ago.

As we await more news on her forthcoming album ‘BraveHeart’, we hope she revisits ‘Rose’ for inspiration to be daring on the sonic front and visually captivating with clips like ‘Only U’.

Tidbit‘Don’t Leave Me Alone’ is a TGJ fave from ‘Concrete Rose’.  What’s yours?

‘Don’t Leave Me Alone’

Your thoughts?

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Comments 18

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  1. Daniel Teflon August 23, 2013

    Something odd about her voice I JUST CAN’T GRAB & it loses me!!

  2. Lovebird (roar – Prism – 10.22.13) August 23, 2013

    I couldn’t go through the whole article, the writing is amateur and boring, clearly written by a wannabe journalist with no talent yawn.

    Anyway Ashanti is a product of poor label management because she’s supposed to be BIGGER than she actually was. Ashanti had some really ground breaking deep songs on her albums, she had meaningful songs whilst others were swagger jacking Amerie.

    I feel Ashanti was robbed at the shot of being an icon, instead we had to settle for someone who lies about writing Ne-Yo’s songs.

    • RICHIE_RICH August 23, 2013

      Beyonce>Ashanti>Rihanna ….you have no choice but to deal…

    • Marcy August 24, 2013

      Robbed? Lol. The GP are the ultimate deciders honey. Not anyone else. Remember that.

  3. Molly August 23, 2013

    Non factor

  4. Umm August 23, 2013

    Ashanti never really had a bad voice just a kinda ugly tone to it.
    I will say if she would’ve did a totally different look for that album
    And consistent promo it would’ve went better.

  5. Molly August 23, 2013

    We needa goodies replay sam

  6. #hive August 23, 2013

    Dont know her.

  7. Chanteau August 23, 2013

    This album did (& still does) give me life! I personally think it was her best album not only vocally but artistically! Every song on this album still gets me going but I guess others did not think such…I still love it though!

  8. HOWYOULIKEIT August 23, 2013

    Back in the days. Still down and so hot are really good songs. And with 253k she was only #7?

    • number1k9 August 24, 2013

      I know, that’s mad crazy to think in 2004 that got u a #7 debut. Now that’s almost always easily a Top 5, if not # 1 album!!!

  9. Kingstown August 23, 2013

    Lame post tbh.

  10. Suicide Blonde August 23, 2013

    Who is she?…anyway, SAM fix the website, we want to fight and discuss but we can’t do it because once it reaches the 70 comments, we can not comment further, Thank you baby!…:)

  11. Mark111 August 23, 2013

    Best song was Don’t Leave Me Alone. She always had good singles, but her albums never really add up right to me.

  12. number1k9 August 24, 2013

    I swear Ashanti’s album’s have only gotten better since her debut, musically.

    TBH her debut of them all is the album I’d least want to listen to from top to bottom.

    I loved this album cuts like “Still Down,” with T.I., “Don’t Leave Me Alone,” “Take Me Tonight,” with Lloyd [which was like the “Southside” Part II, if you didn’t know, now you now], and “Focus,” were all hot songs from this album.

    Its such a shame this album did not become as successful as it should have. Honeslty I never understood why “Don’t Let Them,” was chosen as the second single, especially when “DLMA,” was a fan favorite and in the running.

    I wish this album was marketed differently and the The INC was not going through their money issues during this time. That def screwed this era. Sadly 🙁

  13. Antione August 24, 2013

    I know you taking me there with your basement.

  14. bibi93 August 24, 2013

    Only U

  15. home November 14, 2016


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